I received the following question about how to trust again:
“My husband and I remarried after we both got divorced and went through a number of relationships. I have been hurt a lot but tried to end all the relationships in peace so when I met my husband I felt alive and saw him as my right great man. And he is actually great in many ways. But when I found some of his communications with his ex wife and ex-girl friends, I found that he lied to them a lot. And sometimes he lied to me also. I know our relationship is sort of controlling-resistance. I am trying to control and he is trying to resist. And I told him that I do not trust him or respect him any more for all he has done to other women and me. Because he lied, I felt like I have the right to judge him and to make him feel guilty for what he has done to me and other women. Then he told me that he felt so bad about himself and that he is as bad as what I told him. I feel it is his problem and I cannot respect a man who is not responsible for what he is doing. I’ve gotten very angry many times and scolded him and called him names. I know I should not have done that but I have lost trust in him. Through the Inner Bonding process I am trying to get myself back and get my love and respect and trust back for him. My question is how I can restore all these? And how can I trust that I will not be his victim in the future?”
And another question about how to trust again, from a different woman:
“Being forthright, honest and loyal are important attributes for myself and in others. Once the ‘bridge of trust”‘ has been burned significantly (i.e. infidelity in marriage or an intimate relationship), can trust be truly re-established when it seems to be more important to one partner? How does the one betrayed respond when the other is apologetic but thinks an apology is enough? How do you prevent this feeling of distrust from affecting future relationships?”
Learning to trust again requires work on two levels:
- The first thing that needs to be done is your own inner work. You need to do enough Inner Bonding to become a trustworthy loving adult for your own inner child. This means:
- Accepting that you have no control over whether or not someone betrays you again, and letting go of trying to control the other person.
- Fully grieving the loss of trust.
- Learning to trust your own inner knowing. As you develop your trust in your feelings and your Guidance, you are more equipped to sense a lack of integrity in others.
- Becoming willing to lose the other person rather than lose yourself.
- Becoming willing to take whatever loving actions you need to take on your own behalf.
- The second level of work in learning how to trust again is relationship work:
- Both you and your partner need to attend couples counseling to fully understand your relationship system. Lying is often the result of one person trying to control and the other resisting or fearing honesty. Both partners need to do the work of healing old fears and beliefs and developing a trustworthy loving adult inside, who can be honest rather than deceitful. You can never trust that the other person won’t lie or be unfaithful if your own inner healing work isn’t a priority.
- Apologies are never enough. Apologies don’t mean anything without the inner work to heal the underlying fears and false beliefs that led to lying or being unfaithful.
It is unrealistic to trust again without this inner and relationship work. The wounded self in all of us isn’t trustworthy and can act out in very hurtful ways when there isn’t a strong loving adult in charge of our actions. For trust to flourish in your relationship, both of you need to become trustworthy loving adults with yourselves and with each other.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Relationships Course: “Loving Relationships: A 30-Day Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul – For people who are partnered and people who want to be partnered.”